Today it’s my turn on the blog tour for The Stepmother by Claire Seeber, if you love a psychological thriller with plenty of suspense and intrigue, you should get yourself a copy right now. Hang on before you go…..I was thrilled when Claire Seeber agreed to do Q & A for my blog, I have to say Claire has given some fantastic answers, so with no further ado
For those readers who haven’t yet heard of you or your book The Stepmother can you provide us with an introduction?
Hello! I’ve actually been around for a while (though I’m terribly young…ahem). The Stepmother is my 6th psychological thriller, which seems amazing now I write that – where does time go?! My background was in TV production as a director – I’ve worked on everything from Comic Relief to X Factor (awful!), and print journalism. I gave most of the TV stuff up to write and be a mum, and now I’m training as a counselor, in psychotherapy – in between wrangling kids, animals and – er, all the things on my To Do list ☺
Where did the idea The Stepmother come from come from?
I love – don’t we all – fairy tales! I am fascinated in family dynamics – and so I brought the two things together in this book, which is a twist on Snow White. Why are the stepmothers in folklore always the baddies? Can that really be true? I had a few stepmothers myself – and they were OK – not cruel and mean! But as a fairly new stepmum myself, I saw a different side of the story. These relationships can be fraught with unsaid stuff.
How do you research material for your book?
A variety of ways: talking to others, gathering experience, interviewing people. If it’s ‘technical’ then I will find a lovely expert and be really annoying picking brains! When I wrote NEVER TELL, there’s a big court case, so I went to the Old Bailey and also spent a lot of time emailing a barrister I knew. With FRAGILE MINDS I had to find out quite a lot about the Counter-terrorism dept in the London Met from a very nice senior policeman.
Do you have any strange writing habits or rituals?
I think I’m quite boring! I like writing first thing most of all, if I can get rid of the family! I prefer quiet – if I play music, I tend to tune into the rhythms…but I quite like cafes etc, for a bit of background company. I’ve been known to sit with my headphones on, not listening to anything, just to block out noise!
Do you write an outline before you start writing?
Sometimes, and sometimes not – but if I’m on a tight deadline, like I was for THE STEPMOTHER, I definitely did. When I don’t, I sometimes get into trouble going off at tangents!
Did you have a character you enjoyed writing about more than other characters in The Stepmother?
I like Marlene. She is outspoken and a bit brash, but she stands for everything that I think women try not to be. She says it how it is, but she’s inherently good – just struggling with her own demons.
What is your least favourite part of the writing/publishing process?
Probably the last edit stage/ proof-reading stage when time is running out and I suddenly realize I’ve written lots of really BAD sentences! Also I struggle with the title process. The publishers never want to call it what I do!
Are you inspired by any particular authors?
I love Daphne du Maurier, MM Kaye, Mary Stewart. I loved Agatha Christie as a kid, I think I’ve read all 91 (is it 91?!). I read all the time and my reading pile never gets smaller! I like reading thrillers by my contemporaries now, as well as more ‘literary’ stuff sometimes.
If you could co write a book with another author, who would it be and Why?
Ooh what a good question! Gosh. I think I’d probably write a kid’s book with Quentin Blake, does that count?! I know he’s mainly an illustrator but he’s a GENIUS and I’d write a mystery for older children, I think, with amazing pictures from Mr Blake!
I love the cover for The Stepmother, did you have input in the cover design?
I can’t claim credit for it, no! But I did have a lot of discussions with my lovely editor Keshini about what we thought would work. The book was originally called Mirror Mirror because of the Snow White link – and the designer’s idea for a broken mirror made us both a bit nervous, being superstitious. But I think it turned out well, don’t you?!
What authors/books do you like to read in your spare time?
I read a real mixture. I’ve been reading a lot of thrillers recently, for research, but interspersed with books like Anne Enright’s The Green Road. Recently I’ve discovered Sharon Bolton – I really like her Lacey Flint thrillers.
What book are you reading now?
I just had a birthday – 21 again, of course – and a friend gave me The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry; it’s a Victorian mystery. It’s good but I have to read it when it’s quiet because it’s ‘proper’ writing!
Are you able to tell me anything about your next book?
Er…well, I would…except I’m not quite sure what it will be! I’m thinking of doing a police procedural/ psychological thriller..with DCI Silver again.
During all the interviews you’ve done what question have you not been asked that you wish had been asked – and what’s the answer?
Another great question!
I’d like to have been asked: Is it a bit annoying that, given LULLABY came out in 2007, ‘domestic noir’ has taken off in such a huge way in the past few years…as if it’s a ‘new’ thing!
The answer is – I try not to mind that since Gone Girl & Girl on a Train the media act as if those writers have invented a new genre. Occasionally I fail!
My thanks to Claire Seeber for taking the time to answer my questions, and Kim Nash over at Bookouture for organising the interview
About the author
Claire Seeber’s TV career has seen her move from in front of the camera to behind it, and from MTV, to chatshows, to documentaries. Her work has taken her all over the world, but home is in London with her partner and two children. Claire writes features for a range of broadsheets, last year began studying psychology, and has had four novels published by HarperCollins.
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Jeanie and Matthew are a happily married couple who both have teenage children from previous relationships.
No one said it would be easy to raise a blended family under one roof but Jeanie and Matthew are strong. They will make it work.
And whilst Jeanie’s stepdaughter Scarlett rejects her, Jeanie will just have to try harder to win her over.
But Jeanie has a past. A terrible secret she thought she’d buried a long time ago. And now, it’s coming to the surface, threatening to destroy her new marriage.
Someone is playing a terrifying game on Jeanie and she must put a stop to it once and for all.
Acclaim for The Stepmother:
“Fast-paced, dark, intense, and suspenseful… This is definitely not your usual fairy tale… if you love page-turning thrillers you can’t go wrong
with this one.” What’s Better than Books?
” I found my heart in my mouth as The Stepmother reaches its terrifying and heart stopping conclusion”
The Book Review Cafe
” It was so good I have been hiding in the toilet at work reading this on my phone as I needed to find out what happened!!”
” The two POVs together slowly reveal the whole disastrous picture and while you think you got it there’s some new revelation turning things upside down.”
You can read my full review here The Stepmother by Claire Seeber
I’ve included the tour banner so you can follow the rest of the blog tour, there are some fabulous bloggers on The Stepmother blog tour and I’m looking forward to reading their reviews.